Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is expected to have surgery on his injured left thumb later this month, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Pedroia suffered a complete tear of the UCL in his left thumb while making a headfirst slide on Opening Day against the New York Yankees, reports Evan Drellich of MassLive.com.
Despite the injury, Pedroia played quite well in 2013. He played 160 games and batted .301/.372/.415 while winning the American League Gold Glove at second base. The only noticeable difference in Pedroia's performance was a decrease in power, which is a common occurrence for players with hand injuries. His nine home runs were his fewest since his rookie year in 2007, and his .415 slugging percentage and .114 isolated power were both career-lows. Nevertheless, his 6.5 wins above replacement player, per Baseball-Reference, ranked sixth in the American League.
Pedroia not only downplayed the effects of the injury on his performance, but actually credited it for an improved approach at the plate, according to this quote in Drellich's article:
"It was a little difficult," Pedroia said Oct. 24 of playing with the injury. "Actually, in the end, I'm going to look back and it helped me because I kind of take huge swings in the past trying to hit home runs, and sometimes I get a longer swing than what I normally have when I just use my hands, and stuff like that. So that kind of helped me being short to the ball, making sure I go the other way. Not try and pull everything.
"But it's one of those things, I did it to myself, I slid headfirst into first. I don't think I'll ever do that again."
Pedroia will have an MRI before being examined by the same doctor who operated on his hamate after the 2007 season, reports Speier. The 30-year-old signed an eight-year, $110 million contract extension in July.